Expedition Finds 85-Year-Old Cameras Abandoned on Yukon Glacier – All That’s Interesting | Episode Movies

By mapping how Walsh Glacier had moved over the past eight decades, the expedition was able to determine where explorers had left their equipment, including cameras.

Leslie Hittmeier/Teton Gravity ExpeditionIn addition to the cameras, the expedition also found cooking utensils and climbing gear.

85 years ago, explorers Bradford Washburn and Robert Bates were forced to abandon a number of their supplies, including cameras, while attempting to climb Canada’s Mount Lucania. Now an expedition has followed their tracks and recovered their cameras.

“That moment when we saw the equipment that was undeniably theirs [was] just so surreal and so affirming in so many ways,” said professional skier Griffin Post, who came up with the idea of ​​tracking down the cameras PERSONS. “There’s been so much self-doubt over the past 18 months.”

Corresponding The New York TimesYou only found out about the cameras when you read the post Escape from Lucania by David Roberts, a 2002 book detailing Washburn and Bates’ 1937 expedition. Post was fixated on a few paragraphs mentioning that no other expedition had encountered the equipment that Washburn and Bates had to abandon.

“[That] got the wheels turning,” Post said.

He teamed up with Teton Gravity Research (TGR), a group of mountaineers and scientists, to survey Walsh Glacier in Canada’s Kluane National Park. But Post quickly realized her task was easier said than done.

“You do all this research, you have all this science-based reasoning, and you think it’s absolutely possible: we’re going to go in there and look in that particular area, and it’s going to be there,” Post said The New York Times. “And then when you first see the valley of the Walsh Glacier and how massive it is and how many crevasses there are, how rugged the terrain is, your heart kind of sinks and you’re like, no way, that’s just there so much terrain.”

Change in glacier topography

Tyler Ravelle/Teton Gravity ResearchThe group studied how the glacier had changed over the past eight decades to find the cameras.

To find the cameras, Post and his team hired Dorota Medrzycka, a glaciologist whose knowledge of how glaciers had changed over time provided estimates of where Washburn and Bates left their gear.

However, even with Medrzycka, Post’s team failed to locate Washburn and Bates’ gear on their first attempt in Spring 2022. In August, her second expedition also appeared to be on the brink of failure, as her week-long journey to the glacier turned up nothing. But then Medrzycka had an idea.

As The New York Times The glaciologist reportedly noticed anomalies in the ice that suggested two “shocks” had caused Walsh Glacier to move faster than she previously predicted. Medrzycka revised her estimates – and led Post and his team directly in front of the cameras.

“To know that my educated guess actually paid off and was correct is an incredible feeling,” said Medrzycka The New York Times.

Their revised estimate was all the more astonishing given that the expedition had just an hour before a helicopter was due to pick them up. post told PERSONS that they found the cameras “at 11 o’clock”.

Restored Camera

Leslie Hittmeier/Teton Gravity ResearchThe expedition hopes they can salvage the film from one of the recovered cameras, seen here buried in the snow.

Post’s expedition encountered a number of Washburn’s cameras, including a Fairchild F-8 aerial camera, two motion picture cameras with film, a DeVry “Lunchbox” camera model, and a Bell & Howell Eyemo 71. They also found climbing gear, tents, and cooking supplies , including part of a T-bone steak.

But surely the most enticing finds are the cameras, many of which include film that Post hopes can be developed.

“It was so unlikely to even find the cache after 85 years,” he said The New York Times. “Yes, it’s unlikely that any part of this film can be salvaged – but maybe.”

Even if the film is useless, Post feels his expedition was successful in other ways. For example, it provided important insights into how Walsh Glacier had changed over time.


After reading about the 85-year-old cameras recovered in the Yukon, see how a melting glacier in the Italian Alps revealed artifacts left behind during WWI. Or read about John Torrington, whose body was preserved in the ice for more than 140 years after he died on the doomed Franklin voyage to the Arctic in 1845.

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